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Old 07-30-2008, 01:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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1992 Metro sedan needs a new engine - What/Where/How - advice appreciated greatly!

Hi, I'm new to posting on this forum, though I've been reading it extensively for a couple of days now. I find the material fascinating, and I was initially surprised that there were actually other people out there who were really mindful of fuel economy.

So, onto my current situation: I recently bought a 1992 Geo Metro, (4 door manual transmission) which had a recently rebuilt engine. Spent a decent amount of money fixing it up, (bearings, exhaust, brakes) and took it on a road trip through the mountains and back, and it started acting up and died shortly after I got home. Took it to a mechanic and he said that something had not been done properly in the rebuild (something to do with the timing belt) and, for lack of better understanding on my part there was something to do with pulleys, the crankshaft and a big enough mess on the bottom of the engine that it wasn't really even rebuildable.

I've looked into a few options from getting a used engine (seems iffy unless one gets lucky) to getting a remanufactured/rebuilt engine, to even going electric. Due to some of the setbacks of electric (particularly range and winter issues) I've decided against that, and now I'm considering my options and I am looking for a little advice, with a couple of questions in mind:

I'm pretty sure I do not currently have the xfi engine. (I don't think it even comes in the sedan) How much would I need to change if I put one in? According to Custom 1,621 is the curb weight of an xfi and 1,694 is the weight of my sedan (a regular coupe metro is 1,650). So, if it is relatively simple to plop an xfi engine in, I'm assuming that 73lbs isn't going to be the end of the world. Just seems like it's worth it if I'm looking at picking up the 15% or so increase I've heard one can expect from an xfi. I frequently drive around with between 1 and 4 passengers (I installed an extra seatbelt) but the previous engine seemed to do fine even at full load. (It just drives like the automatic does without passengers)

Second question - what would be the best option in terms of an engine? Should I hunt around for a used engine, or should I shell out for a rebuilt or remanufactured engine? I've done a little googling and found a few sites offering remanufactured engines ranging from $1200-$1500. Time is also an issue, because I'm not really in a situation where I can wait for a good deal to pop up. (I'm not very mechanical myself, and my father will be visiting me for two weeks coming up pretty soon and has offered to help if I can get something together.) Also, I live in Canada, so it would always be a little bonus to deal with a Canadian company to avoid duty/border stuff, but that's not something that need necessarily be the case.

I definitely want to set this thing up to get good mileage, and obviously getting the right engine is going to be a very important part of that, so I want to get off on the right foot.

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Old 07-30-2008, 01:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Mike's Automotive Services in Sequim WA. just across the pond from you. advertises on Seattle Craigs list auto parts section for metro engine repair. I have never contacted them but their prices seem reasonable. (360) 681-0758
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Old 07-30-2008, 01:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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In my case, however, I would need an entirely separate engine. But, since it sounds like they specialize in Metro repair, it would make sense that they would also have whole engines. I'll give them a call tomorrow. Any other thoughts? (Particularly about the xfi thing)
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Old 07-30-2008, 03:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You might want to get a second mechanic's opinion on your 'dead' engine.
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Old 07-30-2008, 07:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I agree with qwahir. Unless the engine actually "exploded" into tiny pieces, it is repairable. Get a second opinion! Even if the timing belt broke, these engines are non-interference.
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Old 07-30-2008, 05:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well, it certainly didn't explode into tiny pieces, however, there is apparently a big hole in the bottom of the engine where the crankshaft comes out, and I think there were some other pieces completely missing, or badly disfigured. He said that technically it would be repairable with some JB weld and a bit of tinkering or something to that effect, but that it wouldn't be something that would necessarily last very long, so it didn't sound like a good idea. I could possibly try to get some pictures, though I'm not 100% sure where to look since my mechanical knowledge is pretty much limited to tightening belts and changing spark plugs...

I could get my dad to take a look at the damage, but if I wanted to get a second opinion from a mechanic, I'd be looking at another pair of $50 (Well, that's the minimum...) towing charges. (I guess that's not much in comparison to the cost of an engine though)
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Old 07-30-2008, 07:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You can actually see a hole in the side of the block? That does sound rather terminal. But how that could be caused by anything having to do with the timing belt....?
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Old 07-30-2008, 07:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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On the other hand, if the bolt that holds the lower timing belt pully to the crankshaft was not tightened properly, it could waller out and pretty much bring the whole program to a halt; mucking up the end of the crankshaft. This happens sometimes with Geo Trackers. The redneck solution is to weld the pully right to the crankshaft. You may not want to go there, but you have little to loose.
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Old 07-30-2008, 07:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mullet View Post
I agree with qwahir. Unless the engine actually "exploded" into tiny pieces, it is repairable. Get a second opinion! Even if the timing belt broke, these engines are non-interference.
Really? The timing belt broke on my dad's Metro, and he says the engine now needs completely rebuilt. I know he put a new timing belt in and he still could not get it to go.
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Old 07-30-2008, 09:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwahir View Post
On the other hand, if the bolt that holds the lower timing belt pully to the crankshaft was not tightened properly, it could waller out and pretty much bring the whole program to a halt; mucking up the end of the crankshaft. This happens sometimes with Geo Trackers. The redneck solution is to weld the pully right to the crankshaft. You may not want to go there, but you have little to loose.
This is sounding very much like what my mechanic told me, actually. (Including the part about how I ~could~ patch it together but probably shouldn't) He basically said things were disfigured badly enough that you couldn't really tell how they were originally.

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